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Guineans Welcome Sanha’s Promise to Investigate Assassinations

Guineans have welcomed as a positive step President Malam Bacai Sanha's vow to investigate the assassination of his predecessor as well as the former army chief.

Newly elected President Sanha made the pledge in the presence of several African heads of state during his inauguration Tuesday.

The military killed former President Joao Bernardo Vieira in an apparent retaliation after an explosion killed his rival, military chief of staff Batista Tagme Na Waie.

Political observers say the pledge could ensure peace and stability after the assassinations plunged the country into chaos.

The United Nations spokesman in Guinea Bissau, Vladimir Ronteiro said that the international community supports Sanha's vow to investigate the assassinations.

"The president's statement didn't surprise because he already he highlighted the need to (investigate) the assassination of former head of state also the head of the army... in his statement yesterday he just reassured people," Ronteiro said.

He said there is need for the investigation into the assassinations.

"This is also the position of the Guinea Bissau government elected after the election of November 2008. All want (explanations) to what happened," he said.

Ronteiro said negotiations will falter without an investigation.

"This is part of the process of political stabilization because if no inquiry is made for sure the process of dialogue will be difficult," Ronteiro said.

He said the international community has voiced support for the investigation.

"To date we are just focused on this issue of the inquiry and the U.N as well as ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) and the African Union as well as the Portuguese Community are working together with Guinea Bissau authorities to try to provide support in order to carry out this process," he said.

He said Guineans overwhelmingly showed support for their new president.

"The inauguration ceremony was held under heavy (rainfall), but 50 thousand people packed the stadium where it was held. This was their sign of commitment of their support to the elected president," he said.

Ronteiro said the opposition fully participated in the inauguration as a sign of the country's unity.

"His (President Sanha) in the election was there Kumbayala and he with the prime minister walked hand in hand and tried to show people that starting by politicians walking to change things in Guinea Bissau, and put the country on the road to development and peace and stability," Ronteiro said.

Shortly after being sworn in President Sanha appealed to the international community including the African union to help his new administration ensure stability and peace.

The new president won the July 26 presidential run-off after winning 63 percent of the total votes.

President Sanha however faces a daunting task of curbing the recent upsurge of the drug trafficking allegedly instigated by Latin American drug lords.